Lewis Furnace on Guthrie Creek
The iron industry began near Pine Log Mountain after 1837, when Jacob Stroup built the first iron furnace. Iron ore was mined on the mountain and transported to massive pyramid-shaped stone furnaces to be turned into pig iron. Jacob's son, Moses Stroup, partnered with Mark Anthony Cooper in 1845. John W. Lewis also owned multiple furnaces.
Cooper ultimately established the industrial town of Etowah along the Etowah River, about eight miles south of the mountain, and had at least 500 workers before U. S. soldiers destroyed the complex during the Civil War. Seven of these iron furnaces, mostly along Stamp Creek, existed between Pine Log Mountain and the Etowah River,
A water wheel powered the bellows. According to G. Richard Wright and Kenneth Wheeler in their article “New Men in the Old South: Joseph E. Brown and his Associates in Georgia's Etowah Valley”:
“Built of stone stacked without using mortar, these furnaces were routinely twenty to thirty feet wide at their base, and rose as high as forty feet…The charcoal fire burned constantly for as long as forty weeks at a time, at a temperature of about 2,500 degrees…
"The average furnace ate at least 150 to 250 acres of timber each year, and the result was extensive deforestation over thousands of acres.”
Iron Furnace, Side View
Early Settlers and the Iron Industry
Black Bank Iron Mine
The Black Bank Iron Mine near Guthrie Creek on Pine Log Mountain was one of the first iron mines on the mountain, dating back to before the Civil War. The west side of the mountain, where the Cartersville Fault runs between Little Pine Log Mountain and Hanging Mountain, is rich in iron and manganese.
Early mines like this one were hand-dug by laborers, and the chunks of iron ore were transported by mules to the furnaces.
Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown delivered a speech about the mining opportunities in Georgia on November 7, 1860, noting: “It is believed that the quantity of iron ore, of the very best quality, within [Georgia’s] borders, is sufficient to supply the demand of all the Southern States.”
Photo by Abigail Merchant.
Black Bank Iron Mine.
Jones Mill Ruins on Stamp Creek
This mill was originally built by John W. Lewis on Stamp Creek, on the south side of the mountain, in the late 1830s. It was called Lewis Merchant Mills and had a water wheel that turned a grist mill.
After the Civil War, it was purchased by R. H. Jones and Sons, who operated a sawmill on the site and built wagons, wheels, and caskets.
The mill illustrates how much industry flourished on the south and west sides of the mountain, both before and after the Civil War.
Photo: Jones Mill Ruins
Photo by Abigail Merchant.